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Slave labor built this country.
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There's an extremely interesting datum that most are not familiar with. In total in the transatlantic slave trade, about 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. Of these, 10.7 million survived the voyage. And of those, about 388,000 thousand went to North America. [1] Up to 60-70k more would make their way North America eventually for a total of up to ~450k - about 4% of the slaves that made their way to the New World.

North America's use of slavery was relatively low compared to many other places in the world. Even within the United States itself it's interesting to compare the states where slaves disproportionately ended up to those where they did not. And the Confederate/Union states works as a pretty solid proxy there.

- Confederate: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas

- Union: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and many others.

Suffice to say, slavery does not seem have had a lasting positive effect for the states that most actively utilized it. Ultimately I think the reason slavery is more of a focus for the United States than other countries is not because of any unusual usage of slavery, but because of an extremely unusual outcome.

For instance Brazil alone ended up taking on about 5 million slaves yet, like much of the south, has little to show for it. The point of this is not to say 'what about other countries' but to emphasize that the relative impact of slavery in the US was smaller than in many other places, yet we achieved vastly more than those places. So to attribute the exceptionalism of the United States to slavery, in any meaningful way, seems driven more by bias than logic.

https://www.theroot.com/how-many-slaves-landed-in-the-us-179...


No it didn't. When it was legal, most inhabitants of the U.S. had no personal experience with slavery. It was critical to agriculture in the Southern states, but the North was the industrial powerhouse. And the states that constituted the North continue to be the most dominant region in the U.S. to this day.

I don't see how such sweeping statements about the nature of a country are useful.

Slave labor was only one component of practically all great countries/empires. The West was the first to outlaw it.

The US in particular was built upon the hard-earned lessons of the past, including the moral worth of individual liberty.


How is the US in particular built upon the hard-earned lessons of the past. Because it is younger?

This just sounds like more American exceptionalism that most of the world is tired of, and that includes many Americans.


The counterpoint to your second sentence is that most of the world would sacrifice much to migrate to the US.

Most of the world is poor, and would like the chance to earn more money. That's nothing special about the US there. The same applies to most rich countries.

Fine: USA, #1 when compared to developing nations.

Got an answer to my first sentence?


One example - the US Constitution draws from Ancient Greece and Rome, and is a response to the oppression of European monarchies.

Louis XIV: "I am the state." US Constitution: "We the people...secure the Blessings of Liberty"

That's no cosmetic difference.


Sure, that was a big deal in 1776. But there's nothing exceptional about being a liberal democracy today, and there are plenty of countries that are more free than the US.



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